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Miniature - Frederick of Bohemia, Elector Palatine of the Rhine
  • Frederick of Bohemia, Elector Palatine of the Rhine
    Hilliard, Nicholas
  • Enlarge image

Frederick of Bohemia, Elector Palatine of the Rhine

  • Object:


  • Date:

    12/1612-04/1613 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hilliard, Nicholas (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on vellum, with frame of ebony on oak

  • Credit Line:

    The Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery, case 6

Object Type
James I (ruled 1603-1625) embraced portraiture as a way of promoting the new Stuart dynasty. Miniatures of individual members of the Royal Family proliferated. They were useful as small precious objects that could be exchanged as gifts. The King's miniaturist, Nicholas Hilliard (possibly born in 1547, died 1619), painted this miniature of James's new son-in-law.

Frederick V (1596-1632) was Elector Palatine of the Rhine. He was a powerful German prince who ruled the part of Germany known as the Palatinate. During the Reformation, this area became a centre of Protestantism, despite being part of the Holy Roman Empire, which was Roman Catholic. Frederick's marriage in 1613 to Princess Elizabeth (1596-1662), daughter of James I of England, united these two leading Protestant powers. Their grandson became George I of England (ruled 1714-1727), the first of the Hanoverian dynasty. The couple became King and Queen of Bohemia in 1619, but were exiled in 1621.

Historical Associations
Frederick is shown wearing the Order of the Garter. An English order of knighthood, the Garter traditionally comprises the Sovereign and 25 Knights Companions. Frederick attached great importance to its cult of chivalry. This miniature was painted between December 1612, when he was installed as a Knight of the Garter, and April 1613, when he left England after his marriage to Princess Elizabeth. It was painted to celebrate one or other of these events.


12/1612-04/1613 (made)


Hilliard, Nicholas (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on vellum, with frame of ebony on oak


Height: 27.5 cm frame, Width: 19.4 cm frame, Depth: 2.7 cm frame

Object history note

Painted by Nicholas Hilliard

Descriptive line

Frederick of Bohemia

Labels and date

British Galleries:

Probably framed together 1625-1650

James I's young family, celebrated in this group of miniatures, offered hope of a secure dynasty. Prince Henry, James I's elder son, was a noted patron of artists, who died suddenly aged 18. Miniatures were given as personal gifts and were small enough to be worn to mark a courtier's loyalty. [27/03/2003]




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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